Apple has purchased TestFlight and is integrating it into their development program as part of the tool set. On the whole, this is turning out to be a good thing, but like anything, there are some caveats:
- Test Devices are now managed via email addresses registered rather than UDIDs (the whole “register your device” step in the old TestFlight program).
- We can now register up to 1000 Beta testers (vs. the old 100 limit)
- We (the developers) don’t have to build special provisioning files/credentials and make sure all the build settings line up to the Beta test group for “Ad Hoc” distribution (which cuts down the time it takes to do a build)
- Beta Builds have to go through a Review (by Apple) just like an App Store submission. This isn’t a big CON in and of itself, since it will verify there aren’t any problems with policy, toolsets, iOS specific violations, etc. HOWEVER, it DOES mean that it will add a few days to some of the builds (minor changes are usually pretty quick, but major changes may take a few days)
- Beta users will only be able to install the latest build and can’t really “fall back” to a previous build like you used to be able to do. Rumors are this will change, but the new rollout seems to support this right now and that it may change in the near future as the Apple based program matures.
SO, we’re planning on giving this a whirl (v1.990.1 has been submitted as Build 1 of a new Beta is “In Review” as of 2/11/2015) and see how it works out for us. If it is pretty painless, we’ll keep using it. If not, there have been a couple of pretty click third party solutions rolled out (like Hockey and Crashlytics) and we’ll investigate them as a substitute if necessary. In any case, THANKS TO ALL THE BETA TESTERS and we’ll keep you in the loop as this evolves. Currently, the standalone TESTFLIGHTAPP goes completely dead in late February (I think it’s the 20th) and is replaced by the Apple program.